Editorials

Violence begins at home

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7144.1551 (Published 23 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1551

Domestic strife has lifelong effects on children

  1. David Hall, Professor of community paediatrics (d.hall@sheffield.ac.uk),
  2. Margaret A Lynch, Reader in community paediatrics (CandMLynch@aol.com)
  1. Children's Hospital, Sheffield S10 2TH
  2. United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, Newcomen Centre, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT

    Physical violence in the family probably blights the lives of more people than all genetic disorders put together, yet research on the issue has struggled to achieve scientific legitimacy.1 Violence in the family includes “any act or omission committed within the framework of the family by one of its members that undermines the life, the bodily or psychological integrity, or liberty of another member of the same family or that seriously harms the development of his or her personality.”2 Separating the causes and effects of domestic violence from those of poor parenting, poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and violent neighbours and schools is a tough research challenge.3

    Estimates of how many people experience violence in the family depend on definition, circumstances, and the method of inquiry,1 but even the lowest figures show that this is a common and serious problem. Several forms of violence and abuse may occur …

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